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(Credit: David Lynch)

From Kafka to Dostoyevsky: David Lynch names his five favourite books of all time

David Lynch, a creative figure often labelled “the Renaissance man of modern American filmmaking,” is an icon of filmmaking and a creative at large, one who cannot resist the urge to devour as much artistic culture as humanly possible. The director of big-screen hits such as Eraserhead, Mulholland Drive, Blue Velvet and more, has dabbled in a host of creative outlets. He’s spent time in his life as a painter, photographer, musician and, of course, becoming the director and co-creator of the television series Twin Peaks which is regarded by many as a masterpiece in its own right.

As many people will tell you, if a Renaissance man does so happen to drop a few book recommendations in your lap, then they’re worth considering. If that man happens to be the acclaimed director David Lynch you best make sure you tick them off your list as quickly as possible. Below, we’ve got five essential reads according to the man himself.

Lynch’s accreditation in filmmaking is well known, but his written word is equally alive with creative intent. While releasing a series of different photography books, Lynch’s only major move into literature came in 2006 when he authored Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity, a short book which described his creative processes, memorable stories from his career and his practice of Transcendental Meditation.

Described as an autobiography and self-help guide, the book was made up of 84 vignette-like chapters with the title refers to Lynch’s premise that “ideas are like fish. If you want to catch little fish, you can stay in the shallow water. But if you want to catch the big fish, you’ve got to go deeper.”

While Lynch used his book as a method of passing on his own ideas and methods, the filmmaker has never been afraid to absorb information from his fellow creatives and has often referenced the likes Maya Deren, William Eggleston and novelist Franz Kafka as figures who have inspired him through the years. Kafka’s book The Metamorphosis, incidentally, was cited by Lynch as one of his favourite books of all time.

A few years ago Lynch opened his Parisian private venue club Silencio, which is described as a “dedicated to creative communities.” Designed by Lynch himself in collaboration with designer Raphaël Navot, Silencio was built like a long film travelling in order to “enable the discovery of an intimate cinema.” With a secret darkroom, a leafy smoking room, a photo gallery, a library, a large scene framed with red velvet, a golden corridor and mirror bars, Lynch’s club is located in the heart of historic Paris area of Montmartre.

Lynch approached the project of Silencio with the same meticulously thorough detail as he does all his other creative projects. The surrealist filmmaker decided to choose his own personal selection of music, films, furniture and wine to be sold and featured as part of the daily running of the club.

The final touch, however, saw Lynch name his five of his favourite books to be featured in the club library. It provides a keen insight into Lynch’s working mind. The library offers up some classic titles such as Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis as well as Dostoyevsky’s wondrous read Crime and Punishment both of which are as grime filled as Lynch’s films. Below are five of Lynch’s favourite books of all time and, as you rightly imagined, they’re all fantastic.

David Lynch’s favourite books:

  • The Name Above The Title by Frank Capra
  • Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • The Art Spirit by Robert Henri
  • Anonymous Photographs by Robert Flynn Johnson
  • The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
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